Category Archives: Personal Perspectives

Grace.

You wouldn’t have to read many articles on this blog or spend much time with me in person to learn I’ve got a feisty, snarky stubbornness in the way I communicate politically. I have my own way of doing things, to say the least. You probably think you know what to expect on this blog a day after an election…but I may surprise you.

The majority of news outlets today will say that it “didn’t go our way”, but I just can’t see it that way. Since the inception of this campaign, it was never leaning “our way”. It was always “not enough time”, “too big of a district”, “too small a staff” (thanks, y’all) and “not enough money”. Too tall a hill, if you will. But the fight was never about that. The fight was about the unique non-political message of our candidate and the ever-turning wheels of the vehicle in which this grand movement is traveling. The messenger of this movement will say otherwise but there is no better example, no better mentor, no better delivery than what we’ve seen through this culture shift. If you followed the campaign even a little, or the legislature for the last 4 years, you know exactly what I’m talking about. A lot of you don’t have a clue what I’m talking about, though, because it’s a quiet, yet effective push to make a difference and do what is right. It’s grace.

I moved to South Georgia on a whim and a prayer just 77 days ago to work in a capacity I didn’t understand, in a town I didn’t know for a cause that is still much larger than myself or anything I will ever be. I put fear, doubt, and everything known to me aside and trusted in the Lord’s plan for my life. It’s the most freeing feeling I’ve ever felt.

I woke up this post-election morning and panicked because it was 7:28am and I feared I would miss my morning 7:30a.m conference call with our team or still have my “morning voice” when I called in. But like the morning after a break-up, it was empty. When it’s abrupt and there’s no closure, we often want to place blame or find a “well, we should have…”,. I can’t find that in my heart. Only Grace.

I still rushed to get to the office because I wanted to be there–Our tiny nook just off what South Georgia calls a “highway”. Even in breaking down the office, I want it to reflect the same heart as the entire campaign. Only Grace.

I’ve never been prouder of a campaign, of a candidate or my own work.
I have nothing negative to say about the entire process, or “The Other Guys”, and I know that that isn’t always a gift we are granted the morning after an election. Only Grace.

The majority of the people in my life will never know the true impact that last 11 weeks have had on my life. I found a quiet confidence in myself, a renewed faith in my neighbors and an appreciation for the simple things. I see everything and everyone differently. My communication skills have been refined and my political ideology, though still unwavering, is more principled. I’ve built relationships with people who have turned my world right-side-up. Only Grace.

The majority of news outlets today will say that it “didn’t go our way”. I cant find one filter to look through that presents the situation in that light. Only Grace.

I can put my campaign shirt back on WITH A SMILE to go pick up 2,250 yard signs across 19 counties.

Only Grace.

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A Reflection on My 1st Quarter of a Century

Today I turn 25. A quarter of a century. I feel like I’m handling it fairly well. Besides thinking I look ‘old’ in my Facebook profile picture, cringing at the idea of someone telling me I look “28 or 29” and the ever-increasing pressures of real life, I’m of sound mind.

Birthdays have never really been a ‘reflection’ point for me, but 24 was so wonderful and 25 marks some huge milestones for me. I’ve come to grips with the how much I’ve changed and how much I’ve grown, both recently and as a whole on my first quarter around the sun. Some good lessons, others not so much. Regardless, a few perspectives I would share with up and coming early-twenties folk:

  • First and foremost, formalized education doesn’t prepare you at all for the real world. The Masters is where my education space station stops. I’m done. Experience is my next money bomb.
  • Titles are meaningless, success is relative and, like money, you cannot take either with you when you leave this earth.
  • Friendships and laughter will always be able to fix everything- even if only for a moment.
  • The statement ‘You are in control of your own emotions. No one can make you ‘feel’ any way” is truer than most of us would like to admit. We always have the option to remove negativity from our lives. We make the choice to let people affect us.
  • Delivery of opinion is everything. I stand by everything I’ve said but there are a few things I would probably say more eloquently. You can dish it out all day (especially in politics) but bet your bottom dollar there will come a time when you will have to look them in the eye, say hello and pretend like you don’t want to crawl under the table.
  • Dogs are the best judges of character. Untrustworthy, sneaky, smelly…they can sense it all. And they’ll let you know, too. You can’t get honesty like that anywhere else.
  • You will always need your mom because life isn’t getting easier. ( I also, surprisingly, remember the “little things” she taught me, like, to make sure to go to bed with clean underwear and nice pajamas in case you have to go to the hospital in the middle of the night. This actually happened and I was pleased with my night-time attire in the ER)
  • Your faith will never let you down.

Most importantly I’ve learned that you cannot determine anything. You can’t even try to steer the path. At 18, I was certain about what I wanted: job, kids, family, income, the works. When that plan didn’t work, I implemented a new plan. Then another. The only thing all this planning taught me is that the more you plan, the more out of control you spin. When I finally got out of my own way, the “right” things happened fast and just how it should. My ‘oopsies’ and ‘on accidents’ have become glorious achievements.

This blog has been a huge part of my ‘growing pains’. The confrontational aspect of it has pushed me to be confident in what I say, research what I hear and explain why I say things that disrupt harmony. The ‘public’ side of it has forced me to come out of my shell, which is much more fun than hiding behind a computer. And the ‘feedback’ side has ensured that I stay humble and grounded, but most importantly, true to my convictions.

It’s a big week for me. 25. Graduate school is complete. Lots to learn and a long way to go, but life’s been (overwhelmingly and undeservingly) good to me so far…
::insert liberty drum:: then, this:

Should You Ditch a Friend Over Politics?

You can listen to the mom’s of the world who say “If a friendship can be undone, it was never really a friendship.”
You can listen to the hippies of the world who say “Can’t we all just get along?”

But is politics reason enough to drop a friend?

The current situation is very sick and twisted. Long passed are the days of keeping mum on politics and religion. Our country is so divided, so separated, so broken.
I’ve lost a few Facebook friends because of politics (Heaven forbid!) and I’ve seen family members take “time-outs” over disagreements over politics. But I recently lost a really close friend because of political beliefs and it made me question where politics falls in our daily lives.

When you think about it, our political views are based on core beliefs, religion, morals, and ethics (or the lack of all of the above for some). Are these things we can sacrifice for friendship? Or are we sacrificing friendships for politics?

A study was released in March by the Pew Internet & American Life Project that 18% of people have defriended or blocked someone on Facebook because of political postings. Another 28% said they counter with rebuttal or competing post.

As a blogger, I’m certainly not one to stand down from my views or keep my mouth shut on an issue. But throughout my life, I’ve surrounded myself with people who live life like me…my friends have a faith of some type, work hard for their earnings and are good people. Can I spend time with someone who doesn’t believe in working hard for things that they want? Do I want to go shopping with someone who is still living off Mommy & Daddy at 25? Can I discuss relationship issues with someone who thinks my tax dollars should pay for their abortion or birth control? The answer is no.

Let’s not get it twisted. I won’t break off a friendship because someone supports a different primary candidate than me or thinks we should give foreign aid to Israel but not Peru. It’s more about the rhetoric and tone BECAUSE of the great divide. Republicans are called bigots, racists, women-haters while Democrats are labeled system-milking, abortion-getting liberal swine sluts. Whether the names are true or not, the dialogue is no longer respectful-from either side. Our discussion of politics has become immensely PERSONAL. I can hardly stand the sight of someone who supports ObamaCare because of 1) how its going to affect me and 2) because of their lack of understanding of actual issues. So when it comes to a morale-based talking point, where do you draw the line?

You can certainly choose not to discuss politics with your friends, but I would argue that there is a growing trend of politics bleeding into every day life. Political views are now like a fashion accessory. And with the ever-evolving policy changes we are seeing, it may become more and more difficult not to resent someone who supports a policy that will negatively affect your personal and financial freedom.

Civic Dootie

March 11th, 2011, I get off work and head home. It’s sunny. A bit warm. I’m happy. Check my mailbox before I head to the apartment. Sift through, see some bills, coupons, a catalog and…OH NO, there it is….JURY SUMMONS!!!!! Like a knife through the heart, I knew this day would come. First I’m upset, “WHY ME!” Then I’m mad…”Couldn’t they have chosen someone who DIDN’T have a job?!” Then I see that I’m on standby status and can call the night before to ‘verify’ that I need to show up. I notify my boss but say a few quick prayers that I won’t have to go.

April 3rd, 2011- Ring ring. “Group 1 must report..” Dang it! I’m so ticked, I don’t even finish the rest of the recorded message. ::CLICK:: Off to find a cute outfit and an offensive book.

APRIL 4, 2011
5:45 am– ::HONK HONK:: The alarm starts to ring. So not ready for this day. Can I call in sick? SNOOZE.
6:00am– Okay, fine. I realize I must get up.
7:00am– An on time departure has me eating breakfast in the car, but missing all traffic on the expressway as I head into the city.
7:30am-I arrive at the ‘Orange Lot’ of Turner Field as instructed to do so on my jury summons. I am told I do not have to pay to park and a bus will be by to pick me up shortly. With my water bottle, book and fully-charged iPhone, I board the Fulton County Shuttle Bus. This little wonder, actually multiple wonders, drives back and forth, up and down MLK, Pryor and Hank Aaron delivering government employees (and jurors) to their destination.
7:32am-Arrive at the courthouse. Wait, what?! A two minute bus ride?? Pretty sure that is about a 5 minute walk. What a waste of tax dollars. STRIKE 1. As we’re walking in, we’re greeted by a rather friendly Fulton County Sheriff’s Officer in a clean brown uniform. He says, “Welcome to the Fulton County Courthouse!”. The lady next to me asks, “Is this where we come for jury duty?”. Ohh lady–Yes, this is where most people come for jury duty, but we’re taking you to the jail for asking a stupid question. Strike 2.
7:45am-I am through security and getting settled in a large room that seats 450. Whew, what a morning! The room starts to fill up quickly and I begin to people watch. After about 45 seconds I’m bored and delve into my book. Just then, a man with a raspy, but loud voice and stinky breath sits down next to me. He says, “First time?” “Yep.” I reply, going back to my book. He doesn’t stop, “I love coming here. It’s such a wonderful experience and I love fulfilling my civic duty. I hope I get picked!!” Better you than me, big guy.
8:30am– They lower the lights and turn on the projector. We watch a 20 minute video highlighting the specifics of jury duty like: 1) understanding that many chosen jurors cry because they understand how important their job is, and that is okay. 2) comprehending the idea that we can forfeit our $25 juror allowance and instead make a donation to the Atlanta-Fulton Public Library (PUH-LEEZ!!) and 3) are notified of the wi-fi passwords. Following the video, we hear a brief speech.
9:00am– SNACK BREAK! Wooo!! After all that work, we have a break.
9:30am-……….waiting to reconvene from snack break…..
10:00am– …..Waiting…Still nothing. Thankfully, the ladies behind me are having an intriguing conversation. One lady is detailing how she is glad she didn’t have to go to work today because she “needed some vacation time” and was able to sleep in. Vacation time? You call being held captive on the 7th floor of a government building vacation? Clearly we live very different lives.
11:00am– 60 jurors are called in. Roughly 240 remain. I think I’m starting to develop a twitch from listening to the people around me chomp on chips and slurp their drinks.
11:18am-Becoming restless, I decide to take a walk. Inevitably, I wind up at the vending machines. I think I’m in the mood for some peanut M&M’s. I wait in line and when it’s my turn, I step right up. I put my first quarter in when I’m bombarded by this beast of a woman. “EXCUSE YOU!” I say, as she puts her dollar in snatches the last peanut M&M’s.
UGH!!!!!!!! She walks away with my peanut M&M’s and without looking back.
11:28am-Another 50 people are called. Not me.
11:55am-LUNCH BREAK! Thank goodness. After reconvening our 9am snack break at 11:28, I was concerned we’d have to sit here too long without a break.
NOON-I venture to the cafeteria where I am greeted by fried chicken, beans and a line of 7 vending machines, two of which dispense different kinds of icecream treats.  I think to myself, ‘Michelle Obama would be MORTIFIED if she saw this food spread!” I skip the cafeteria and opt for a bag of cheez-its. Michelle may not like processed foods, but after the M&M tragedy, this was just what I needed and satisfying none-the-less.
1:00pm– Everyone returns from lunch…except the people who work there.
1:30pm– They announce that if we are still sitting in “this room”, there is a possibility we could be stuck here until 8 or 9pm.  Panic erupts in the room as if an imminent Earthquake was announced.
2:10pm- 100 people are released to go home. Not me.  We should hear another update around 3:00pm. I begin to itch.
3:00pm-……………………………………
3:15pm-…………………………………………………………..
3:37pm– I am released with a group of 14 people, the others left behind–SORRY SUCKERS! We all hussle to the elevator and hop on as quickly as we can. We scurry to the street. IT’S OVER!

…Not yet…I have to take that stupid, tax-payer funded bus back to the orange lot. So we head to the stop. And we wait. And wait….

4:00pm– The bus arrives. Apparently, this efficient government ease-mobile runs every 15 minutes during non-rush hour hours, and there’s a “possibility of it being late”. Whatever.  Take me to my car.
4:05pm– So happy to see my little car sitting in the parking lot, all covered in pollen. I hop in, roll the windows down and peel out without looking back.

I understand that we have a civic duty to participate in the legal justice system, and I am thankful that such a process exists. But I have to wonder…who is really on trial? The criminal? Or my mental ability to sustain a day like that?

The Evolution of “Life”

I have the privilege of spending a significant amount of time with two very brilliant children. They teach me a lot. More recently, I learned how perceptive children are to minor details and subliminal messages that often times go unrecognized by adults.

A trip to Barnes & Noble yesterday was a real eye opener. My 6 year-old friend noticed the game display in the window as we pulled into our parking space. “The Game of Life!!” she shouted, “But that box is different…” Indeed it was. It was the original box, the version from the 1960’s. Mind you, these children have the game at home, the 1970/1980 version. What she said next was nothing new to me, but disturbing nonetheless. “It’s good we have the version we do because the new one is full of lies”. Hmm. I thought back to my recent trip to visit my brother and his family and we played the newest version of the game. It was, in fact, much different from the original and even the 1990’s version I grew up playing. The new one was filled with applicable lawsuits, entitlement tiles and “Share the Wealth” spaces. It really got me thinking, so I did some investigating.

“The Game of Life” has changed entirely since it’s original release.
The 1960’s version was basic, a bit bland but straightforward. You could take a “business” route or a “college” route into the real world. Not much changed in the 1970’s version, but the money values nearly doubled to reflect inflation and the original car model of a convertible was traded in for a minivan. The 1990’s version is where we start to see some solid changes: Rewards for people recycling trash and helping the homeless, stock cards are limited and the there is no longer a “business” route, but a “career” route. College loan debt increases in 2005, and investments become more risky. Finally, the newest version. The ‘Share the Wealth’ cards, the ability to withdraw insurance policy options and the fact that no occupation has “special abilities” anymore, with the exception of the police officer, are among a few of the new aspects of the game.

So, where shall I start?? Inflation, okay, I get it. But when in real life are you rewarded for recycling or helping the homeless?? The game suggests a monetary reward, but all I’ve ever received from recycling is an extra bin to drag to the curb and a pat on the back. Further, “Life” is a game based on American values and the American Dream, which are in turn formed from democracy and capitalism. At what point did the makers of this game think socialistic tendencies and special abilities of a certain profession, A.K.A. a union, fit this criteria? And why would we instill the idea of investments being “bad” into the minds of our children who will one day have to put their own money somewhere?

A seemingly innocent game, one that’s been around forever, but has been secretly evolving. So much so that my brother has cut construction paper out to cover the “Share the Wealth” tiles on the board. So much so that children born in the 2000’s are playing a game from the 60’s, because even though the lifestyle may be dated, the values are correct.

So it seems that the overly analytical, thought-provoking 6 year old is right, once again. “The Game of Life” is full of lies…and not just when applicable to the board game.